Alex Rodriguez and his potentially bruised ego might be the least of the New York Yankees’ problems.
Ace CC Sabathia is going to have his left elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are aging stars dealing with major injuries. Hiroki Kuroda, Ichiro Suzuki and Nick Swisher are headed for free agency. The list is a long one for a ballclub that was handed one of its most embarrassing exits from the postseason, but the story sure to create the biggest stir this offseason is what – or what not – to do with A-Rod.
The Yankees’ third baseman returned from a broken hand in September and struggled down the stretch and in the postseason. The 37-year-old’s regular-season numbers were the lowest they’ve been in his career for a full season, finishing with 18 homers and 57 RBI.
Still, Girardi is planning for A-Rod to be in his lineup next year.
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“I expect Alex to be our everyday third baseman. I do,” Girardi said. “What does he have to show me? That he’s healthy and ready to go.”
Even if the Yankees would like to trade the three-time MVP, it will be extremely difficult: they owe him at least $114 million over the next five seasons.
Taking some time off after the team’s early exit, Girardi hasn’t spoken to Rodriguez since he benched the fading slugger three times in nine games this postseason and pinch hit for him three other times.
KEMP SET BACK
Matt Kemp’s hopes for a simple surgery on his left shoulder were dashed when the Dodgers slugger awoke to learn things were worse than doctors had first thought.
Kemp was in Arizona on Wednesday to begin rehabbing from the Oct. 5 surgery that repaired a torn labrum and damage to the rotator cuff, injuries resulting from a crash into the center-field wall at Coors Field on Aug. 27.
“I was definitely surprised and definitely disappointed,” he told reporters by phone in his first public comments since the surgery. “I wish it would have just been a simple cleanup. It’s going to take close to January before I can hit and do a lot of other things.”
Doctors said Kemp should be ready by spring training. He has been biking and walking on a treadmill since the surgery, and will now step up his rehab program.
Kemp missed 51 games in the season with a strained left hamstring, and then chose to play through the shoulder pain to finish the season.
“I already asked the doctors if I could damage it any more than it was damaged and they said no, so I kept playing,” he said. “When they went in there, they were surprised I was still playing because it was worse than what they had thought.”
The Royals promoted minor league hitting coordinator Jack Maloof to major league hitting coach and Andre David to assistant hitting coach. … The Cubs claimed right-handed pitcher Carlos Gutierrez off waivers from Minnesota and designated catcher Anthony Recker for assignment. … The Twins say they will decline their $6 million contract option on right-handed reliever Matt Capps, making him eligible for free agency.